Boyd Sports adds synthetic turf at TVA Credit Union Ballpark

23 December 2016

North Carolina’s Sports Construction Management’s $250,000 installation of new synthetic turf on the TVA Credit Union Ballpark infield should be finished in mid-January, well ahead of the Appalachian League champion Johnson City Cardinals’ June home opener.

Sevierville-based Boyd Sports LLC assumed management of the Johnson City Cardinals in January of this year when they inked a 10-year lease agreement with the city.

The private company, which manages the World Champion Chicago Cubs’ AA affiliate Tennessee Smokies, began by securing a four-year sponsorship commitment from Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union. It also agreed to make more than $350,000 in improvements, including a new artificial turf infield, improved training room, new group sales pavilion, improved and expanded concessions and other improvements.

Boyd Sports owner and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd have kept their word. The same can be said for Boyd Sports President Chris Allen.

“We’re beginning to finish the concrete curbing,” Sports Construction Superintendent Derrick Tucker said Wednesday from the somewhat soggy field. “The infield is the only area where the synthetic turf will be placed, and we excavated it down about seven inches below grade (the rest of the field). “We are laying a woven ‘membrane’ down, and crushed rock will go on top of that. The turf will be stretched over another layer of material going down, and we will fold the edges over the curbing so it meets flush with the outfield grass.”

Cardinals General Manager Tyler Parsons said Science Hill High School will begin practice at the ballpark sometime in late January or early February. The Cardinals’ home opener is June 22.

“I think the work on the synthetic turf is going great,” Parsons said. “I was out there this morning, and they’re doing an awesome job. We’re looking at a Jan. 16 completion date, and installation of the turf should save about $15,000 a year in maintenance costs.”

Boyd Sports’ construction of a new 250-seat “Perch” increased the amount of money fans spent at Cardinals games, attracted a younger crowd and drew people who normally would not have come if it weren’t for the new amenity.

The new two-level beer garden built behind the left-field line in advance of the Cardinals’ June 26 home opener officially is called The Perch presented by Bill Gatton Mazda-Acura. The new amenity also likely helped the Cardinals break an all-time attendance record this past season at 53,434.

In May, as players began to arrive in Johnson City, a newly refurbished locker room was finished, complete with new couches, carpet, chairs, counters and other amenities. Parsons called it “one of the nicest locker room facilities in the Appalachian League.”

The City Commission’s agreement with Boyd Sports calls for the city to cover utility costs at baseball games only. The company reimburses the city for utility costs at events it hosts outside the realm of Cardinals baseball. The agreement also requires the city to pay for lighting upgrades at an estimated cost of $450,000. The time restraint for this improvement is now within four years.